MANAGEMENT INFORMATION FOR THE MEDIA INDUSTRY
29/11/2020

Heidelberg standardizes company pension scheme

15.08.2020
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The Management Board and employee representatives of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and the IG Metall trade union today reached agreement on the restructuring of the company pension scheme for the employees in German companies. A collective bargaining agreement brings together the previous pension arrangements of the German Heidelberg Group. In addition, a uniform dynamization of company pensions was agreed upon, which is based on the expected lower inflation. This makes the development of pensions more predictable for employees, pensioners and the company and at the same time reduces administrative costs. 
The new regulation leads to a reduction in the expected future pension increases and, with a positive effect of around €65 million on the operating result (EBITDA), strengthens the company’s equity in the current first quarter of the financial year. 
“The adjustment of the company pension plan is the next important step, which on the one hand provides clarity and predictability for our deserving employees and on the other hand contributes to the sustainable financial stabilization of Heidelberg,” said Marcus A. Wassenberg, CFO and Labor Director of Heidelberg. 
With this new regulation, IG Metall and Heidelberg are addressing the structural problems of the existing company pension system. “The legal framework conditions and the continuing low interest rate phase are presenting many companies in Germany with major challenges, including Heidelberg. With this step, we have fundamentally addressed the structural challenges in connection with the company pension system. With our agreement, we have now reached a sustainable arrangement for all employees and pensioners alike,” said Mirko Geiger, First Senior Representative of IG Metall, Heidelberg. “The agreements that have now been reached are a good example of how companies can solve the existing challenges with regard to company pensions.” 
With this step, the company is also reacting to the historically low interest rates in the euro area, which will lead to further increases in provisions for pension obligations in the future. Damping future pension increases therefore has a positive effect on rising pension obligations. “With the revision of the company pension scheme, employee representatives and the Management Board have once again reached a constructive agreement that contributes to the future viability of our company. We are thus addressing structural problems in the pension system that are placing a significant burden on the company, while at the same time making the system future-proof,” said Ralph Arns, Chairman of Heidelberg’s Works Council.
Until July 24, 2020, the contract is subject to a committee reservation by IG-Metall.

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VRM media group chooses CUE to accelerate digital transformation

15.08.2020
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Dan Korsgaard (CEO of Stibo DX).
The German media company VRM, located in Mainz, recently decided on the CUE publishing platform and digital asset management (DAM) system from Stibo DX as the central technology in its newsrooms. The CUE platform will make it easier for VRM’s journalists and editors to produce, publish, and re-use content across a wide array of media and platforms.
At the same time, CUE’s DAM-capabilities will make it possible to consolidate, catalog, find and re-use content more efficiently across the entire media group. Furthermore, it will make it easier to track the exact usage of licensed content and assets.
Spend more time creating quality content
By selling around 285,000 daily newspapers, such as Allgemeine Zeitung, Wiesbadener Kurier, Darmstädter Echo, Gießener Anzeiger and Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung, VRM is one of the largest regional media companies in Germany, reaching more than a million print readers in the Rhein Main area and in Central Hessen.
In addition, VRM reaches 2.5 million unique users with its online portals across the group and has more than 680,000 social media followers. Furthermore, VRM is a key partner in local and regional communities, for instance by initiating various social engagements and participating in numerous other enterprises.
“During the last couple of years, it has become apparent that we needed to change our structure and workflows to ensure a more efficient shift of focus from print towards digital,” says Julia Lumma, Head of Content Development at VRM.
“We chose CUE, as we expect the platform to help us achieve this goal. Also, we want to enable our editorial team to spend more time creating quality content for our readers in a user-friendly and modern digital environment instead of having to work with numerous time-consuming systems”, she explains. 
A milestone in the digital strategy
The implementation of CUE is a project of strategic importance to VRM.
“We are pleased to have reached another elementary milestone in our digital strategy with Stibo DX’s publishing platform by investing in forward-looking, modern technology. At the same time, we will use the opportunity to rethink how to implement processes and working methods successfully,” says Joachim Liebler, CEO of the VRM.
“To us – and to many other companies in the media business – it is vital to rethink revenue streams and attract subscribers to our digital platforms. We initiated this journey well before 2020. But the COVID-19 crisis underscored the need to accelerate. We expect the CUE platform to be the right solution to support the process going forward,” Joachim Liebler adds.
Efficient cloud-based ­solution
VRM’s CUE installation will be hosted in Stibo DX’s cloud in an AWS environment. This maximizes uptime and stability while eliminating the need for VRM to administrate, service, and maintain hardware and clouds themselves. Furthermore, Frankfurt’s regional Amazon data center is close by, ensuring swift response and very low latency.
Dan Korsgaard, CEO of Stibo DX, adds: “VRM has high ambitions within the digital space. We look forward to supporting VRM in their efforts to become a digital-first media company.”


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IPI condem ns phone hacking, smear campaign against Al Jazeera journalist Ghada Oueiss

15.08.2020
Prominent Al Jazeera news anchor Ghada Oueiss and her colleague Ola Fares have been targeted in what researchers say is a “systemic” online harassment campaign by Saudi Arabian social media accounts. While Oueiss had been viciously harassed online in the past, the two women were most recently subject to an avalanche of online attacks in early June, with Twitter users spreading private pictures of Oueiss in a swimsuit, which were stolen from her phone after hacking it, with denigrating accusations, messages and innuendos on how the journalists had achieved their successful careers. An analysis by Marc Owen Jones, a researcher and professor at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, found that the campaign – which resulted in over 25,000 tweets and retweets in just 24 hours – was driven by numerous prominent Saudi Twitter accounts.

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The Eidosmedia annual technology gathering kicked off with a successful online format

15.08.2020
“Paradoxically, the health crisis has allowed us to welcome even more guests than usual to our annual event,” said Massimo Barsotti, Eidosmedia CMO. “Nearly two hundred delegates registered for the first two sessions and we are expecting even more for the second cycle in September.”
The Future of Content event aimed to replicate as far as possible the structure of the annual meeting, with keynote speakers, user stories from Eidosmedia customers and a look ahead to upcoming product developments. “To make up for the lack of a real-world lunch, we even sent an online meal voucher to each guest!” said Massimo.
This year’s event kicked off with an interesting account of the use of machine-learning to extract risk indicators and other parameters of interest to financial analysts from large-scale news archives presented by Dr Jochen L. Leidner, Director of Research at Refinitiv Labs (Thomson Reuters). 
On a topical note, Sylvain Coutu, CTO at Canadian daily Le Devoir, described the challenge of having to move the paper’s entire newsroom into remote working mode in the space of a few days by fast-tracking the move to an Eidosmedia platform. 
As Eidosmedia users increasingly move to cloud-hosted deployments, Carsten Zeug, Head of Managed IT Services, at MSP Medien Systempartner in Germany, described the advantages of shared cloud platforms as used by several Eidosmedia customers in Germany and the synergies made possible by such arrangements. 
The guest speakers’ contributions were followed by presentations outlining the digital transformation vision driving the evolution of Eidosmedia products and the innovative methodologies being used to develop them.  
The hot topic of remote working was the focus of the demo session. The public health crisis has given new urgency to the need to break ties with the newsroom or office and this has resulted in accelerated uptake of Eidosmedia’s Swing family of remote working apps. The demo showing how Swing’s advanced mobile functionalities provide a viable alternative to newsroom workflows through highly coordinated distributed teamwork.
“Feedback on the first two sessions was very positive,” said Massimo. “The annual gathering is an important opportunity for us to exchange ideas with our customers and partners and we were happy to see that the online format allows us to keep the ideas flowing, even when we can’t meet face to face.”
The second cycle of sessions will take place on September 15th and 17th.

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